Amid chaos, the AIADMK General Council (GC) meeting on Thursday announced that the one and only demand of the GC members is to bring in a system of a single leadership for the party, favouring Joint Coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS).
The Executive and General Council meet held together saw EPS emerging as the supreme leader and he was honoured with a decorated crown, a sword and sceptre by supporters.
EPS’s colleague and coordinator O Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS was apparently snubbed in the meet and rude slogans were shouted against him.
The meet, which stuck to the one and only demand of making EPS the supreme party leader, turned out to be a full show of strength of the Palaniswami camp with OPS followers heavily outnumbered.
Panneerselvam camp promptly declared the proceedings invalid and OPS, a three-time Chief Minister is likely to air-dash to Delhi to explore options like approaching the Election Commission to take forward his fight against EPS faction.
While the EPS camp asserted that the GC would meet again on July 11 to elect Palaniswami as the party head, OPS group said that it is not possible as only coordinator and joint coordinator had the powers to convene the meet and not the presidium chairman.
The meet was a pointer to the region and caste-based groupings within the AIADMK.
Within the party, most belonging to the Vanniyakula Kshathriyas community also known as Vanniyars, dominant in northern Tamil Nadu and the Gounders, seen as movers and shakers of the western region favoured EPS.
Panneerselvam’s loyalists mostly belong to the southern parts of the state and to the Mukkulathor community, a Most Backward Caste like Vanniyars. While OPS hails from the Mukkulathor community, EPS is a Gounder.
In OPS’s home district of Theni, his supporters staged protest demonstrations and burnt effigies of EPS. The western region of Tamil Nadu is considered to be a traditional bastion of the AIADMK.